Press Conference by Security Council President on Programme of Work for December

The Security Council’s agenda for December will feature a ministerial‑level debate on security sector reform, a high‑level meeting on cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union and a briefing on strengthening the rule of law, the organ’s President for the month said during a video press conference today.

Drawing attention to a ministerial-level debate on “Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace:  Security Sector Governance and Reform” on 3 December, Council President Jerry Matthews Matjila (South Africa) said that Naledi Pandor, his country’s Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, will preside over the meeting, which will be held via videoconference.

Delegates will hear a briefing by Smaїl Chergui, African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security, he continued.  They will discuss the importance of security sector reform in support of peacebuilding and sustaining peace, challenges hindering such transformation, and the Security Council’s role in overcoming them, he added, noting that members are expected to adopt a resolution, now in its final stage.

On 4 December, President Cyril Ramaphosa will chair a high‑level videoconference debate on cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union, he said, explaining that the Council will assess the partnership’s effectiveness in resolving conflicts on the continent.  Members are expected to issue a presidential statement, he added.

Citing another major event, he said an 18 December briefing on promoting and strengthening the rule of law will focus on the cooperation between the Security Council and the International Court of Justice, with Court President Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf expected to brief.  Delegates will discuss the complementarity of both organs and how the former can use the latter in pursuing global peace and security.

He went on to point out that the month’s second week is packed with meetings on Africa, including briefings on the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), and the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1591 (2005) concerning the Sudan.

The third week will feature Middle East briefings on Syria and Yemen as well as one on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), he continued.  Before the Christmas break, the Council will hear briefings on the Middle East peace process, including the question of Palestine, and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on Iran’s nuclear programme.  Members are expected to issue a presidential statement on Burundi at some point this month.

He concluded by stating that his delegation will hold a wrap‑up session on 22 December and that South Africa’s two‑year term on the Council will expire on 31 December.

Responding to questions, the President said that he found the Security Council more divided than during South Africa’s two previous terms as a member.  However, it did manage to produce results, he noted, citing movement towards inclusive political settlements in such places as South Sudan, Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Central African Republic, Libya and Somalia.

Asked about the announced nomination of Linda Thomas‑Greenfield as the new Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations, he described her as a good friend and expressed regret that he will leave the Council before her arrival.  Having her on the Council would be “a big injection”, he added.

Questioned about the Security Council’s inaction on recent developments in Ethiopia, he stressed that no one is avoiding to take up the issue, explaining that a private meeting last week decided to wait until the Council receives a report from the African Union’s delegation to that country.

Regarding the pending appointment of the Secretary‑General’s Special Envoy for Libya, he said two African candidates were blocked.  He went on to underline that Africa has demonstrated the capacity to address problems on the continent and, therefore, “we cannot be told that ‘you don’t have a qualified candidate’”.  He added:  “However, we also listen to others.”  If the Secretary‑General goes ahead with his selection, “Africa will oblige” as it needs a stable Libya, he pledged.

As for the recent killing of an Iranian nuclear scientist, he said the Council has not received any request to act on that matter, but the meeting on Iran’s nuclear programme later this month will be held in “a new global environment”.

Asked about rising tensions in Western Sahara, he expressed trust that the Secretary‑General will continue his effort to appoint his Personal Envoy as the situation on the political front is “refrozen”.

Regarding a two-State solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, he said it remains to be seen whether the recent normalization of relations between Israel and Arab countries will have a positive impact on the situation.  As for the international conference proposed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, he said it might generate positive momentum as it would be held in a different global environment in 2021.

For the full programme of work, please see:

For information media. Not an official record.